Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Titanic 3D Blu-ray Review

Titanic 3D
reposted from Into The Third Dimension

The Review:
  Can you really believe that it has been 15 years since this film came out? Kind of blew me away to realize that was half my lifetime ago. I remember enjoying the film on the big screen when I first saw it. It was spectacle of the grandest order, the likes of which Hollywood hadn't attempted since the days of David Lean. At the time it was a mammoth production, months of filming, a 2/3 scale recreation of the ship, at a projected budget cost of over $200million. Today that kind of budget is common place and is actually more surprising if a movie doesn't cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce. In 1997 it was a sum too large to comprehend until the first shots of the titular ship lit up the screen. It was nearly impossible not to get caught up in the magic of the moment. Sure the script is a bit stale at times, but the show is incredible to look at. Sadly when this Oscar winning phenom got scaled down to VHS it lost all sense of wonder and amazement. Something about a 15 inch screen just couldn't encapsulate the grandeur of the moment. So with repeated viewings the joy of the film faded into parody.
    Now, after 15 years and numerous film restoration techniques and 3D conversion technological improvements it's back. Starting with a highly successful re-release in theaters, we are now blessed with the exploits of Jack and Rose on 3D Blu-Ray. I'll avoid going into all the details of the story, after all this is the second highest grossing movie of all time, bested only by another James Cameron film, Avatar. If you haven't seen it by now... what the heck is wrong? Go rent it already! Even if you end up hating the movie, its one to be seen so you know what you're talking about when ripping the movie to shreds. How does the story hold up 15 years later? Well now that it's allowed to live on larger home screens, it holds up extremely well compared to fog covered blur of VHS. By getting to experience the size and scope on a comparable screen you forget the small script gripes and somewhat trite dialog. My one complaint that rings out like a dinner bell are the numerous "time period" references such as saying Pablo Picasso will never amount to anything or musings on Freud when talking about the "size" of the ship. I could do without those scenes on the sole basis that it makes the movie sound like it's trying way to hard to be clever.  When it's all said and done, this is a tragic love story and I have to admit to getting caught up in it all over again. And the sinking ship has never been more exciting. Only the most jaded will watch this movie and search out things to hate on it for. So if you actually enjoy this movie, make sure you're watching it with like-minded viewers.

The Third Dimension:

I got to see this film in 3D in theaters and I have to say with great pleasure it transfers wonderfully. One of the best improvements with time has been the HD revolution to hit home theaters. Home screens are larger and clearer, and are capable of showing off the intricate details of this film as you've never seen them before. Thanks in part to a brand spanking new 4K digital restoration, the 3D conversion is rock solid. Re-framed to fit a full 1.78:1 screen from the original 2.35:1, the clarity and depth comes through in great form. This new aspect ratio and 3D conversion was supervised by Cameron himself over the course of several months. In short, all of the blood and sweat that went into this presentation shows through beautifully. Depth is fantastic and you can really feel the sense of scale of the production. There are a few anomalies from time to time, namely if there is an object or a person in the foreground occupying the outer edges, some ghosting does occur. These instances are brief and barely noticeable if you're keeping your eyes focused in the center of the screen where they should be. This is a movie built for 3D before it was available. Now that conversion technology has improved, this film almost looks as if it was shot originally in 3D. And since the 194 minute movie is split over 2 discs, the picture never suffers and if you want to show off your 3D set to guests, skip to the second disc where the ship just starts to sink!

The Extras Dimension

Well, where to begin? In addition to the 3D presentation, you get a 2D version of the film with 3 commentary tracks. I always encourage any and every James Cameron commentary track. He offers fascinating insight that explains things without ever getting boring. I almost wish the commentary track had been included on the 3D edition if only to learn more about the process of converting the film and the tricks that were used. After the commentaries, you get a fourth disc that is nothing but extras including 30 deleted scenes! How there was that much to take out is pretty incredible but they do provide some texture to the film and are actually worth watching.

The End Result

Here you have a 3D Blu-Ray that is worth every cent. And at a scant $20 at Best Buy and on Amazon, this is an easy purchase if you enjoy the movie and love 3D.  If you ever have any worry about what an older movie post converted to 3D could look like, give this one a spin and put those worries to rest. This was no rush job to capitalize on a gimmick, it was a painstaking effort on the part of the filmmakers and it shows. Whether you're a fan, or if you need a disc to show off your 3D set, pick this one up, you wont regret it.

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